Israel's Secuity Cabinet in light of continued rocket attacks, now facing the inevitable realities that a wider scaled IDF operation in the North is needed YNET reports.
This story in actuality now almost two weeks old. The IDF and security echelon in Israel recommended as much initially after the kidnappings from Israel of Gilad Shalit & Eliyahu Asheri, who has seen been murdered. The political side in Israel was unwilling to go ahead with the security plans in the hopes of safeguarding the missing IDF soldier, perhaps employing 'diplomacy' as an avenue, as well as the evident reluctance to face the facts that an anti-kassam operation beyond mere air power alone, has been sadly much needed. Israel does not intend to occupy Gaza for any determined duration, but the Gaza disengagement has now officially failed.
IDF troops have been massed in the North for approximately 10 days, making only small moves but operations into the vacated former Israeli settlements are now also underway according to the Palestinians. The now two kassam rocket attacks on Ashkelon have only escalated the realities facing Israel's political echelon in regards to the PA, and Gaza in general.
Here's my initial breakdown of Phase II operations for the North, contained you can find an overview of the area, and the mission objectives.
Here's yesterday's breakdown of initial clearing operations in the North which are paving the way for a gradual entry by the IDF with heavier combined troops including Armor, Infantry, Gunships and air support.
Condi Rice and the State Department have again called for restraint, which at this point in my opinion is more of an embarrassment to the US State Dept and President Bush than it is to Israel. There's a limit to hypocrisy, and if rockets were hitting say San Diego, I doubt the State Department would be wagging its tongues as much..
Some kudos to the Israeli Security Cabinet for finally weighing Israeli security above all other factors. For the record, I am an ardent American supporter but the recent actions at State have been beyond weak, the useless platitudes to the Europeans in order to bolster recent multilateral endeavors all too transparent.
Gd speed, and good luck. Smash the Kassam cells, their infrastructure to pieces please. Once complete, dismantling the Hamas terrorist government would be a wonderful cherry on top, maybe Israel can call it Phase III. Even if it meant Abu 'No can Du' Mazen back in place, it is one step better than Hamas.
EDIT: I forgot too mention, I will update the maps once operations are fully underway and troops have cleared or taken territory, as the IDF operations will face resistance and are fluid and dangerous.